By targeting the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh (which play a primary role in bending and straightening the leg), this exercise strengthens weak knees and reduces the symptoms of arthritis of the knee. It is important to do this exercise in conjunction with Exercise 10, the "knee curl," as the muscles targeted in these two exercises—the front thigh muscles and the hamstrings—work together when you walk, stand, and climb.
- Put on your ankle weights.
- In a sturdy, armless chair, sit all the way back, so that your feet barely touch the ground; this will allow for easier movement throughout the exercise. If your chair is too low, add a rolled-up towel under your knees. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your arms should rest at your sides or on your thighs.
- With your toes pointing forward and your foot flexed, to a count of two slowly lift your right leg, extending your leg until your knee is straight.
- Pause. Then, to a count of four, slowly lower your foot back to the ground.
- Repeat 10 times with the right leg and 10 times with the left leg for one set. Rest for a minute or two. Then complete a second set of 10 repetitions with each leg.